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Google-branded Firefox?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:51PM (#10625486)
  • by SIGALRM (784769) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:51PM (#10625487) Journal
    There's also a lot of 'covert' code going into the tree without individual bug references
    It's interesting that Mozilla developers would check in code for Google employees (if this is, in fact, what's really happening). Why would Google need to keep a "low profile" in all this?

    Anyway, I sorta saw it coming. Google is investing heavily in JavaScript-powered desktop-like web apps like Gmail and Blogger. Google could then use their expertise to build Mozilla apps. It'll be interesting to see whether this happens or not.
    • by Arghdee (813921) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:53PM (#10625523)
      I'd like to see them build official extensions to the Mozilla platform, rather than rebrand Firefox.

      Give the consumers more choice!
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:16PM (#10625800) Homepage Journal

      Google could then use their expertise to build Mozilla apps. It'll be interesting to see whether this happens or not.

      Yeah, imagine a Gmail web interface built with XUL. Something like this [willden.org], but built with Google simplicity, speed and style.

      Disclaimer: The link goes to a copy of xulwebmail [mozdev.org] on my web server sitting on my cable modem. If it gets hammered too hard I'll take it down. Also, note that I don't think xulwebmail actually works, so don't bother typing your real e-mail account and password. Still, use mozilla or firefox and take a look at it if you haven't seen it before. It certainly looks like it could be a very cool way to do webmail... and lots of other stuff, too.

    • by TrentL (761772) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:27PM (#10625935) Homepage
      ...and that's that you can't open "links" in new tabs. In fact, most of what passes for "links" in GMail aren't links at all; they're just areas that listen for JavaScript mouse events.

      Why can't I open my different messages in new tabs? Why can't I view a message, and then open my "inbox" in a separate tab?

      As it stands now, I have to manually open a new window and then navigate to GMail. I can't believe Gmail has the same problem hotmail does.
    • Google is investing heavily in JavaScript-powered desktop-like web apps like Gmail and Blogger.

      I know this may sound lame for 2004, but I wish Google would make a nice portal page like my.yahoo.com and let logged in users modify their preferences. Maybe they already have, but I can't find it on their page. I think that'd be more useful than yet another Mozilla browser.

  • Maybe search? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harbinjer (260165) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:52PM (#10625494) Journal
    Could the hirings of the browser people be just to integrate desktop search better with current existing browers? That does sound more likely to me.
    • Re:Maybe search? (Score:2, Informative)

      by wo1verin3 (473094)
      The idea of a browser must have been at least discussed for gbrowser.com to have been registered by them...

      Registrant:
      Google Inc.
      (DOM-1278108)
      1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
      Mountain View
      CA
      94043
      US

      Domain Name: gbrowser.com


      • Re:Maybe search? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668)
        google could afford having 1 guy doing domain name registering for one day per week, in the marketing or whatever pr guys they have.

        you know, registering every possible good name they can think of, REGARDLESS OF IF THEY'RE PLANNING A PRODUCT OR NOT. you know, 'just in case'.

      • The web isn't the only thing you can browse.

    • Re:Maybe search? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bheer (633842)
      If this "silent code checkins" story is true, two candidates come to my mind:
      a) improved Google Desktop Search compat with Firefox
      b) some form of Alchemy code (Adam Bosworth is working at Google and has some neat ideas about making the browser smarter about working offline)

      What beats me is why ANY major changes would occur before a 1.0 ship. Both (a) and (b) are things that could be done in Firefox 1.1, which is why I'm sceptical about this whole silent checkins thing.
  • Hmmm.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Could be a great future hub for a massive range of "Stinkin Microsoft" killer mozilla apps too.

    Death to MS Explorer!

  • Alright, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:53PM (#10625510)
    When do we slashbots start hating google for becoming too big?
    • Re:Alright, (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      When do we slashbots start hating google for becoming too big?

      I don't think it's the being big so much as abusing power when they get that way. Microsoft might not be such a bad company if it didn't use its weight to destroy competition.

      Let's just hope Google stays nice :)
    • Re:Alright, (Score:5, Interesting)

      by colmore (56499) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:04PM (#10625672) Journal
      >When do we slashbots start hating google for becoming too big?

      When the google browser is no longer open and has a 90% market share.

      From our perspective, this is a little silly, and more than a little opportunistic on google's part.

      But in the big picture, this will do a lot to put a brand name on an Explorer killer. And google seems to be pretty good at making usable internet products, so I'm giving all of this a tentative thumbs-up. Anything that gets the lusers to not think of the blue e as "the internet" is good by me.

      Not that anyone ever cares to ask me, mind you.
    • One minute [slashdot.org].

    • Re:Alright, (Score:5, Funny)

      by M00TP01NT (596278) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:16PM (#10625806)
      Never say that you "hate" Google.

      When Google becomes self-aware, I'd prefer not to be known as a Google-hater.
    • Generally, we don't hate companies for being too big, we hate companies when they start acting like asshats. For example, IBM has been well behaved recently, so most people like them.

      Besides, Google has been big for a long time, big enough that they've been able to work on some projects that didn't generate any revenue for quite a while. Some of these things are starting to come together, so people are starting to notice, but their size is not a new thing.

      Remember, they've been the default search engine f
  • Not just a browser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Swamii (594522) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:53PM (#10625521) Homepage
    Why have an OS when you could use Google's servers to send and receive email (GMail), navigate the web (GBrowser), search the web (Google.com) store your files (GMail Drive utility), and search your hard drive (Google Desktop utility)? What next, Google IM?
    • by ryanmfw (774163)
      That's like asking, "Why have a monitor when our speakers are so wonderful?" Because the OS is a necessary part of the computer. None of those things run without one. But! Maybe Google will be coming out with an OS. They have a now commonplace name, and they have the skills. Maybe they'll produce a Linux distro.
      • by pdboddy (620164) <pdboddy@gmaPOLLOCKil.com minus painter> on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:14PM (#10625783) Homepage Journal
        Actually, you have a great idea there. What's Linux's major drawback? The perception that you can't just insert a CD, and it'll install itself perfectly. Or that it's too difficult to do if you don't know everything to know about Linux. If Google were to produce a Linux distro, that distro would have the weight of Google's name, plus anything that came bundled with the would *likely* work properly (less flaws, more filling) as they do have decent coders who know their stuff, and they have the capability to create a desktop environment with search, email, blogging (and more) right at your fingertips. Add to the fact that Google seems to be a) Less Evil Than The Other Guys(TM) and b) willing to take a steady-as-she-goes approach. We'd end up with an OS that wasn't half assed, chock full of coding holes nor equipped with stuff we couldn't uninstall (ie. IE!). Go Google!
        • by PalmerEldritch42 (754411) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:29PM (#10625954)
          Wow- I could imagine a bootable Knoppix-like CD branded by Google. You could stick the CD into any computer connected to the internet and regardless of OS, country, language, etc, it would come up with a login screen. That login screen brings you to your desktop with all of your settings (stored on Google's server) with access to your gmail, browser, blog, files stored on the GmailFS, Google IM, Google Office Suite, etc...
        • You are perceiving Google to be the ultimate solution to everything, a viable "endlösung" to all of the world's problems ( Yes, I spelled it right this time! ) including war, famine and Celine Dion. Google might be a good company that seems to know where to put it's efforts, as both Google itself and Gmail are wonderfully clean and fast, I highly doubt they would risk themselves in the OS market. the Gbrowser itself already seems a bit far-fetched, but a rebranded Firefox with standard Google utils (

          • by pdboddy (620164)
            Not the ultimate solution to everything, heh, just the ultimate solution to Windows. Maybe it wouldn't kill Windows, definitely wouldn't kill Microsoft, but Google could put a large dent in them. And why not, it's a large enough market...

            Sure, Microsoft made IE free, likely in hopes of killing Netscape. But could Microsoft make it's OS free? Not in this lifetime... Windows is where MS's money comes from.
        • by teslatug (543527)
          That wouldn't work. Making Linux work with all the different hardware out there is hard. Making Gmail work with all the browsers out there is infinitely easier, and Google hasn't done that. Likewise, for their toolbar and desktop search, they only support windows. It's easy, so they did it. I just don't see how Google could get into the distro business without going into the hardware business ala Apple (or at least partner with some company that sells PCs), and that's just not Google's cup of tea.

          The bro
      • by DA-MAN (17442) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:16PM (#10625805) Homepage
        That's like asking, "Why have a monitor when our speakers are so wonderful?" Because the OS is a necessary part of the computer. None of those things run without one. But! Maybe Google will be coming out with an OS. They have a now commonplace name, and they have the skills. Maybe they'll produce a Linux distro.

        Although not stated, I believe the parent poster meant "Why bother with os and native apps, when you can access this from anywhere on any computer". Essentially taking the brain out of the box, and putting it availlabe from everywhere on the network.

        Not that I think that's going to happen, but a lot of hosted apps are coming to fruition every day. E-mail was one that exploded quickly, I don't believe that word processing and spreadsheet are that far behind.

        Why do things online? Easier to upgrade, install the upgrade on the server and you are done.
    • The 1 GB limitation....
    • Google already has an IM client. It's called Hello [hello.com], and they got it when they bought Picasa [picasa.com].
  • Only be a good think (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barcodez (580516) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:54PM (#10625536)
    If this gets Firefox on more desktops, replacing IE it can only be a good thing for standards compliance, competition and the decline of the IE monoculture.

    I'm still strugling to think why they would want to do this, perhaps that have some cool XUL applications in the offering.
  • And? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:55PM (#10625544)
    I worked for a company that registered every single one of about 2000 variants we could think of for the domain name.

    One of those domains was "(companyname)lovesjesus".

    I wish I were kidding.

    Anyway, it only makes sense for Google to do the same.

    I will, however say that I would gladly give up the left nuts of all those within 100 miles of me for a version of FireFox that had what this Google Fangirl thinks would be the Alpha and Omega of browsers.

  • Screwy html (Score:2, Informative)

    by arpy (587497)

    The html got messed up somewhere along the line. Here's my original submission:

    An article [mozillanews.org] on Mozillanews.org [mozillanews.org] is reporting on Google's [google.com] registration [whois.net] of the domain Gbrowser.com [gbrowser.com] (nothing to look at there yet). The article provides a summary of rumours that Google will release a branded version of Mozilla Firefox [mozilla.org] (along with some interesting speculation).

  • Pure speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL (312636) <fireang3lNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:55PM (#10625546) Homepage
    OK, this story is pure speculation.

    But if it turns out to be real, will they be able to gain a significant market share? Against IE and the rising Mozilla-based FireFox? To me, it seems that IE get all the non-techy people love, and Firefox gets the geeks... They better implement some VERY nice features, because the Google name alone won't make me switch for sure. And I LOVE Google.
    • It might not make you switch, but it will make Joe Blow switch.

      Most people haven't heard of Mozilla (insert rant about screwy open-source project names here), but they sure as hell have heard of (and trust) Google.
      • I just don't want google to gain like 95% market share with GBrowser, and then put in google-only features and stuff like what MS has done with IE in the past. Sure they might not mean for it to hurt other browsers, but when you control the browser, and your business is internet appliations, it would be hard to resist.
    • If it's possible?
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:56PM (#10625555) Homepage Journal
    For in case the article gets slashdotted, here is the full text:
    Warning: mysql_pconnect(): Too many connections in /web/virtuals/mozillanews.org/db_config.inc.php3 on line 2

    Database is not availiable
  • WHOIS on GBrowser.com

    Registrant:
    Google Inc.
    (DOM-1278108)
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View
    CA
    94043
    US

    Domain Name: gbrowser.com

    Administrative Contact:
    DNS Admin
    (NIC-1467103)
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View
    CA
    94043
    US
    dns-admin@google.com
    +1.6503300100
    Fax- +1.6506188571

    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    DNS Admin
    (NIC-1467103)
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:56PM (#10625560)
    Google's Browser Plans
    October 19th, 2004 - jesus_x
    For several months, there's been a lot of buzz around Google's April 2004 registration of the gbrowser.com domain. After quite a while of digging, I believe I've managed to boil some truth out of the rumor stew. While this is pure speculation, it's speculation based on a wide variety of facts gathered over the past three months. Feel free to take it with a generous helping of salt.

    The Mozilla developers have been stone silent on the issue, aside from a few accidental slips, but several other sources have let loose other bits of information. Interestingly, there's either great confusion on the plans (or a highly partitioned project inside Google), or a good deal of misinformation. Trying to determine what's real and what's not is like making a Venn diagram. Each source is a circle filled with information. Some information is common to all or many circles, some information only comes from one source. you have to put all the circles together, and where they overlap is the most reliable information. So after weeks of analysis, this is where we think Gbrowser is headed.

    The overlap is looking like a Google branded and customized Firefox based browser. To help set it apart from the rest of the browser crowd, they're integrating a lot of their own technologies. Since Firefox does not contain a mail app, they're integrating Gmail for email access, with a built in new-mail notifier. Interestingly, mailto: urls will work with Gmail, allowing peple to click email links in pages and have Gmail open a new mail to that address, as well as IE-like buttons on the toolbar for composing new mail from scratch.

    Newsgroups will be built in similar to Gmail with the Google Groups service, and possibly the ability to select groups to watch, like in a full fledged newsreader (like Mozilla Thunderbird). And Google News will also have built in access from the browser along with Google Alerts or a similar, RSS-based feature.

    Other features include better search integration, with the extra features such as Image Searching by right clicking on an image or selected word. As Silicon.com found there is also a Google branded IM service on the way as well, and could be a Jabber or rebranded AIM also coming bundled with the browser.

    There are other, extra-browser features that will most likely come with it, and tie into the browser, such as Google Desktop Search, Picasa (with links to the browser for web-related sharing, searching, etc.), and Google Toolbar features that IE users currently enjoy.

    Also, Google loves the recently aquired Blogger, and will have built in linkage to Blogger and rich-editing tools, making Blogger a highly integrated feature, with the ability to blog links and web-content as easily as using their integrated GMail features.

    As I stated, Mozilla.org and Mozilla developers have been very quiet on all of this. But with such an open organization, it's hard to hide all secrets. There have been a lot of hidden bugs in Bugzilla related to searching, bugs that even members of the Security group can't access. Recently, there was a bug duplicated to a confidential bug with the following comment by the triager: "This is a duplicate of a private bug about working with Google. So closing this one." That bug also now closed, but it was open long enouch for people to notice it.

    There's also a lot of 'covert' code going into the tree without individual bug references. And none of these patches are being checked in by Google staff, but by other Mozilla developers, ostensibly checking in code for Google employees to keep a low profile. None of this is Google-exclusive, per se, as much as it is code that one could easily see as making life easier for a third party developer making heavy integration changes. the checking comments are usually very technically described, possibly to obfuscate their use to the majority of watchers to maintain the secret. Example

    Exactly how all this is being tied together is not clear, alth
    • Only one problem... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SoCalChris (573049)
      Most of Google's features aren't compatible with Firefox.

      Even their latest offering, the desktop search says they might include FireFox support in the future, but only if enough people request it.

      I would think that if they are in fact going to release a rebranded FireFox, they would be making sure that most of their services work with it.

      It sounds like a bunch of wishful thinking to me.
  • Not a good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onion2k (203094) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:57PM (#10625567) Homepage
    Introducing secrecy into the coding group is a bad thing whatever the project, but working on something on the scale of Firefox without knowing where the project is headed? Thats a receipe for disaster.. One of the good things about Firefox has been the transparency with which the developers have worked so far. Its easy to know whats going on.

    Whats more, there are one or two of us out here that don't want a myriad of features specifically oriented to one corporation. I'd be more than happy with Google producing a line of Google plugins and extensions, but coding them into the browser itself? That sort of thing leads to code forks... and thats not a good thing for the Firefox project on the whole.
  • by deathcloset (626704) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:58PM (#10625589) Journal
    Google Browses you!
  • by cubicledrone (681598) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:01PM (#10625634)
    So let's branch off into 800 money-losing "businesses" and flush a pile of cash the size of Nebraska down a shithole so someone can stand up in a meeting and look brilliant by saying "I think we should return to our core business."

    Then we can start the layoffs.
  • by ICECommander (811191) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:01PM (#10625639)
    Google will bundle an OS with their search engine
  • Google-Toolbar, Google-Desktop, Picassa, etc. etc. etc...but everything windoze. I would simply love the google-desktop for linux or mac.. may be, so firefox might be *sortof* an answer.

    google desktop runs a webserver on the localhost which the browser connects to, so u can always use google desktop of ur windows machine from the linux machine and do stuff like that.
  • by barcodez (580516) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:04PM (#10625668)
    The Mozilla Foundation should register mozsearch.com then start buying up shares in Google but denying they have an interest in search... it would serve absolutely not purpose but it would create a hell of a lot of hype and speculation.
  • GoogleOS? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fodi (452415)
    So, Google will build their technology into a browser.. and add mail, news and searching capabilities. then they'll couple that with the desktop search facility, maybe with an auto-translation of emails service... how about right-click on a word (product) in an email and search for its price... Hehe.. might as well add Solitaire and call it an operating system...

    Integration's great, but at which point will it just become a bloated, lock-in business model??
  • by adamwright (536224) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:08PM (#10625710) Homepage
    See http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3d077db6-25ff-11d9-81d9-0 0000e2511c8.html [ft.com]

    Specifically

    One widely rumoured defence against Microsoft has been a Google web browser potentially countering the software giant's ability to embed its own search engine into its operating system.
    "We are not building a browser," Mr Schmidt said.
  • Gbrowser? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:09PM (#10625727)
    Why does everyone assume that Gbrowser would be a web browser? It could really be any number of things; an online photo album, an online store, anything that you can "browse".
  • *sigh* (Score:5, Funny)

    by cybersavior (716002) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:16PM (#10625810) Homepage
    Here we go again! I cant wait for the next "google rumor of the week." "Google has been said to have tested their own Google-brand cold fusion ractor, codenamed GFuse. However, this comes with little fan-fare as next month they are expected to unveil their anti-matter warp core and time travel device."
  • A valid question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gentlewhisper (759800) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:22PM (#10625881)
    Will Gbrowser be GPL?
  • Some speculation: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mfivis (592345) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:23PM (#10625886) Homepage
    A lot of critics didn't expect the Gmail thing to fly, claiming they were going the way of Yahoo and other portals -- but Google surprised us with revolutionary features and a completely slick but quick interface.

    A lot of people thought advertising on the Internet was dead, but AdSense revived it.

    A lot of mainstream media thought tracking our usage was an invasion of our privacy -- but Google has only strengthened its capabilities and products using our data in a productive manner.

    When we speculate on Google's pending product releases, we seem to always forget to take into account that there will be something totally new attached to it --- making the product near-revolutionary.
  • (nothing to look at there yet).

    You think anyone here cares about that??? It'll be /.'ed anyways... ppffft!
  • by jamesl (106902)
    Google rules out becoming a net portal.

    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3d077db6-25ff-11d9-81d9-0 0000e2511c8.html/ [ft.com]

    Nothing worse than ruining the speculation wars with facts.
  • by Thai-Pan (414112) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:33PM (#10625997) Journal
    At first I thought to myself "What's the point?" but upon reading the article, I saw a few valid ideas for such a product.

    My main concern about this lies in whether or not Google's rebranded Firefox will essentially steal the Firefox project away from Mozilla. Ultimately, Google has far more popular support as a whole than Mozilla, and is well known by an audience consisting not of just computer geeks, but my IE-wielding doofus customers. I think even if the Google browser were 100% identical to Firefox, it would in the end be more successful simply because of the brand recognition.

    When we look at the "browser wars" right now, our two distinct groups are IE and Firefox (and Opera, etc etc..), but division among the ranks of open source soldiers is the worst thing that could happen to us. If Google's rendition of Firefox becomes more successful than Firefox, they will in the end seize some level of control over the whole Mozilla project. If they were to do so, well.. They'd be a bunch of jerks.

    IMO the best way Google could go about such a project would be to implement their new additions to the Firefox browser via XUL, with minimal changes to the core browser itself. If they leave the Firefox browser as the property of the Mozila project, they don't step on any toes, and XUL is still flexible enough that they can make all the toys they'd like. Furthermore, even if they distribute their own Google Browser Package which is essentially Firefox with the Google XUL Extensions, it would still capture their market while remaining "friends" of the open source community. I don't think I'd install a Google browser myself, but I'd consider a couple of Google extensions on Firefox.

    This again ties back to a previous article about the role of XUL. Cross platform workplaces are becoming more and more common these days, and an XUL oriented work platform could certainly alleviate a lot of the stress. Imagine plugging in your PDA/Cell phone, and bing, it synchronizes with a Firefox extension, the same as you use at home, at work, etc. Or even if you used XUL extensions for instant messaging, saving synchronizing files between home and work (Gmail file system extension anybody?), basic office work.. Ultimately if Firefox wants to take a major stab at IE's market, they're going to need some clever tricks to get people to rely on it, and if you ask me, getting people to rely on the XUL platform is it.
  • On the exact same day that WebmasterWorld runs an article with a quote debunking this, Slashdot lets out the trolls and conpsiracy theorists:

    One widely rumoured defence against Microsoft has been a Google web browser potentially countering the software giant's ability to embed its own search engine into its operating system.

    'We are not building a browser,' Mr Schmidt said."


    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3d077db6-25ff-11d9-81d 9 -00000e2511c8.html
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:42PM (#10626056) Homepage
    Wow, that's a feature-packed and very useful sounding app! Web browsing, searching, e-mail and newsgroups tightly integrated in one UI. If I were a Google manager (assuming all this is true) I would make a point of calling this a true Internet Browser as opposed to mere web browsers, and promote it as the next step in the evolution of the net.
  • Next step: the world (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:49PM (#10626129) Homepage
    Google has impressed me from the start with their ability to make the right moves. If they were to create their own Linux distro and go from there, I bet they could own the world in 5 years. Longhorn, schlonghorn.
  • by thanasakis (225405) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:50PM (#10626143)
    Yesterday I was reading an interview [microsoft-watch.com] from Joel Spolsky [joelonsoftware.com] (You probably know him from Joel on software) and I found the following quote interesting:

    In my ("How Microsoft Lost the API War") essay, I quoted a Microsoft guy (and Longhorn Avalon team member) named Joe Beda. I quoted him saying "Microsoft is making a big bet on the rich client." And now he works at Google with Adam Bosworth. I'm sure what they're doing is a new browser. It's the IE (Internet Explorer) team reconstructed inside Google.


  • by theolein (316044) on Monday October 25, 2004 @07:44PM (#10626570) Journal
    I can believe this, and I can perfectly understand Google wanting to hide the fact that their employees are working on this. For one a Google Mozilla based Browser with GMail, GoogleGroups, Blogger, GoogleIM, Google search for the web and your desktop all integrated would rush up the marketshare of Mozilla in huge numbers because Google is known far beyond the tech world. It would be a direct competitor to MSN, and a much better one at that.

    It would make IE unused and unwanted by the masses and it would run on any and every platform that Google runs on.

    The fact that Google has to time this right should be obvious: If it becomes public knowledge too soon, Microsoft will do it's usual embrace and extend routine to make IE the most modern, full featured browser out there.

    But I think Google is absolutely right to do this. Microsoft has already acknowledged Google as a competitor, especially in search services with MSN, and to Microsoft nothing is holy in chasing and killing a competitor. This means that it would not be beneath MS to do it's utmost in both FUD and technical underhandedness to stop Google working on PCs with Windows.

    Google's best chance is to attack by moving forward with a platform that integrates many popular web features in order to get the public to move over to Mozilla. Once and if their marketshare is high enough it will prove very very difficult for MS to unseat them, especially if they don't have the majority borwser anymore. This is not 1995 and Microsoft couldn't threaten PC manufacturers with withholding Windows OEM.

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